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20 Percent of Durham Officers Receive Promotions

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DURHAM — TheDurham Police Departmentgave promotions to 20 percent of its officers Friday.

The raise is unprecedented in Durham police history as 94 officers received pay increases.

The promotional ceremony was a happy occasion, but some citizens say they hope all of the good feelings mean a safer city.

Durham Police Chief Teresa Chambers says the promotions take care of vacancies, as well as officers who were already doing advanced work.

"Today, the department really takes a step forward," she said. "We fill many of the gaps that we have been holding over the past year and a half. Customer service, without a doubt, is going to go up based on these promotions, and crime abatement and quality of life -- that we've already seen great improvement on -- are going to continue in the right direction."

The officers were pleased with the promotions, but Durham police have work to do. The Bull City still has one of the highest per capita crime rates among North Carolina's largest cities.

Durham resident Grace Burnette, 79, says she can see drug deals from her porch. She hopes the promotions improve public safety, but "I'm not going to worry about it," Burnette says. "I've just trusted in the Lord and he let me live this long."

"What this gives the Graces of our community is a chance to access a supervisor or assistant district commander, and go face to face with them and say 'Here is the issue,' and let us protect her anonymity in doing that, but still getting to the core problem," Chambers said.

All 94 promoted officers had to pass a tough test to get the raises, so there were no handouts given. Now, residents like Burnette are waiting to see what all of the promotions accomplishes.


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